02.07.2012
By Terry Flanagan

Your Next Trip: Formula 1 Season Kickoff in Melbourne, Australia

Kill two birds with one stone: soak up the athletic glamour of the 2012 Formula One season and soak up the sun at a resort, all during a single trip. On March 16, the 2012 Formula One season starts in sunny Melbourne, Australia, where Michael Schumacher’s lap record from 2004 still stands, then hops over to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia–home of some of the world’s most gorgeous resorts.

The 2012 Formula 1 season begins, as always, in Melbourne.

SEASON START: Melbourne, March 15-18

The Races…and More: While practice racing events don’t begin at the Albert Park Circuit till March 16 and the actual race isn’t until Sunday, the 18th, arrive earlier in the week to catch other motorsport events being held on the track, which opens every day a 11 a.m. Get into some of their off-track events too: the Crusty Demons, a daredevil freestyle motorcross team, rides and races over four days. Nearby Albert Park Lake offers sailing events that the average Joe (and his kids) can join, as well as other jetski daredevil events. Sebastian Vettel of RBR-Renault won here last year on his way to topping the rankings at the end of the 2011 season. Ticket options abound–while general admission and single-day grandstand seats are selling for a mere $39 per person and $50 per person, we recommend the four-day grandstand at $310 per person to get the full racing experience. Tickets are on sale now at www.grandprix.com.au

Where to Stay: Melbourne is chock-full of lovely places to stay at all price points. Be pampered and tucked away from the crowds at Como Melbourne in stylish South Yarra, with its private massages, highly-rated spa, 25-meter pool with retractable roof, calm gardens, tight security (celebs are said to stay here often), and overall aura of calm–stroll through neighborhood boutiques and cafes when you’re not at the races. Over at the Crown Metropol, high rise artsy chic reigns, and the glass-walled lobby tells you that the rooms and amenities will be just as gorgeously thoughtful…and of course, they are.  For the trendy night owl in you, stay at The Prince, with its dark, modernist looks, three separate bars (ranging from a pub to a watering hole with live music), a nicely curated wine shop, a bakery, and yet another bar…this time, in its relaxed-luxe restaurant, Circa.

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